Dangers of Krokodil


We have more disturbing details this night about the drug known as krokodil which has now reached the Niagara region. It could be the first confirmation of the drug being used in Canada. But before we tell you more , a warning that some of the images in this story are graphic. As we first reported Thursday night on the Evening News at Six, police say there have been two reported cases of people using krokodil. As Lauran Sabourin tells us, it’s a deadly chemical mix that’s more addictive than heroin.

Krokodil is the deadliest drug to hit the streets of Niagara that outreach workers have ever seen. But that isn’t stopping users who crave the high.

Rhonda Thompson is an outreach worker: “Our staff have been really on their toes lately. Ever since oxycontin went off the market, it’s turned into the wild west out there.”

And this can be the result. These disturbing pictures are from Russia. They’re krokodil addicts covered in sores. The drug’s a chemical mix of iodine, gasoline, lighter fluid, paint thinner and codeine. When injected, it kills blood vessels.

Rhonda: “So if they destroy enough blood vessels it will not allow the blood supply to go the hands and fingers and feet.”

These photos of rotting flesh and tissue caused by krokodil are so graphic and repugnant we have to blur them for television. In the last two weeks, two men in St. Catharines have gone to the hospital with sores on their bodies from using krokodil. There is another reported case in Niagara Falls.

Brenda Horton is with the Drug Treatment Centre: “The one gentleman described it he felt like there was a burning coming from the inside out. And it left holes all over his arms.”

Street workers may have only been aware of krokodil in the past two weeks but they believe it’s been on the streets of Niagara for months. And they fear more victims will soon be showing up at hospital emergency rooms.”

Street cops haven’t even seen it yet.

Constable Rich Gadreau is with the Niagara Regional Police: “And they’ve not seen it as far as being produced or sold right now. But that just shows how new it is in the region.”

Brenda Horton works with addicts in St. Catharines. She says krokodil doesn’t last as long, but is stronger and more addictive than heroin: “The life expectancy is about two years once you start using. So it’s deadly.”

Often the users don’t know the purity or the strength of what they’re getting. That’s why support workers says it’s like playing Russian Roulette.


  1. This is unlikely to be an issue in Canada. There is no such drug as “krokodil” – it’s simply badly-prepared desomorphine.

    This in turn only occurs in situations where people are opiate addicts, extremely poor, and there is no social safety net or addiction (programs (e.g. methadone) available. It won’t become a problem in Canada because we have these programs. It is only of concern in places like Russia and the USA where these programs do not exist or cost money to obtain.

    • if our programs worked, there wouldnt be any addictions in Canada. Blowing this off would be a mistake. Addiction is not subject to common sense, as is obvious. Canada has areas where there are extremeley poor addicts…adn not everyone goes for methodone, not everyone follows a program. if it is already happening in Canada, then we are obviously not immune. Sad.

    • An addict is an addict is an addict, just cause they reside in Canada means nothing. This drug is obviously very dangerous but gets you very high and its because it gets you so high people ignore the fact they are slowly killing themselves..

    • Mr Williams, I do beleive that you are badly overestimating the human condition-many addicts will avoid addiction programs as a matter of pride/prejudice/distrust of “the man”. And opiate addicts, due to the debilitating nature of opiate addiction do end up on the slim end of the poverty scale. And further, I rather doubt most people in general, nevermind a “junkie” in the throws of a reputedly unpleasant withdrawal, are capable of correctly synthesing desomorphine from a “good” recipe on a reliable basis. My understanding is that the “krokodil” recipe is not among the reliable and safer methods of obtaining desomorphine. And yes, there IS such a thing as “krokodile” – it is a particular flavour of consistently impure desomorphine, with a specific set of attributes. Your statement that there is no such drug is as rediculous as an assertion that there is no such thing as wine – just ethanol derived from grape.

  2. Yes. Thankfully we have these programs. Because of them, crack isn’t an issue in Hamilton. We don’t have prostitues plastered all over both king and Barton streets.
    Get real. Drugs addicts are everywhere, regardless of what programs are in place. Create a drug, and people will abuse it- no matter the effects. The best thing that we can do is get the warning out there, along with a description of what this drug looks like.

  3. To Tim Williams, you are somehow defending the use of this drug, making it look like it’s nothing… seems you are a user. You are Dumb, thinking that because we have addiction programs it won’t happen here in Canada, that’s the DUMBEST statement I have ever heard in my life.

  4. “situations where people are opiate addicts, extremely poor, and there is no social safety net or addiction (programs ”

    You mean like in the Canada that Stephen Harper would not like us to recognize?
    Get your head out of the sand, that Canada is here, now. We will see this happening here, and you can 100% thank CPC policies and those of provinces seeking to emulate them.

  5. the people who first begin to use any drug are losers in life.
    if you want to do drugs go off to your holes and use them there and die there also.
    stop wasting tax payers money to support the losers who choose this in the first place!
    as far as oxycontin being taken off the market? seems pretty strange that a doc here in Sydney is still prescribing it and people claiming back pain are crushing and snorting it ! that is a fact. as long as they stay away from me and winners of the world who work and don’t drain the system I am fine with that . go to your druggie heaven .

  6. Quiet, Tim. You are ruining the fear mongering. If the news doesn’t make up these stories to print, then why would people read it. This is a great and necessary public service.

  7. That is awfully niave of you, Tim. We live in a country where people are still huffing solvents to get high, this is probably going to be attractive to the same type of people. There are also still remote parts of the country where there are little to no social services and no methadone clinics for days of driving. Not all of us live in urban Ontario. I expect this drug to spread, particularly in the isolated northern communities.

  8. Thank Stephen Harper for the everwise decision of accelerating the war on drugs and getting rid of oxytocin. Now addicts will be pushed onto freak drugs like krokodil and a half living corps with rotten limbs will come to a downtown district near you!

    Yay poverty!

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